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Thailand to pursue development of the Internet of Things through the IoT Institute and the Digital Park

An announcement made by the Bangkok Post highlighted how Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) is supporting the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in Thailand through the IoT Institute and the Digital Park.

The DEPA said that by supporting and creating new value for the IoT, the government will be able to influence the development of its technology in Thailand.

DEPA has high hopes that the IoT Institute it plans to build in the government’s digital park will draw investment from foreign enterprises as well as promote the Thai tech startup ecosystem through innovation development.

The first phase of construction of the IoT Institute will begin in October 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Road shows will be held abroad by the government to attract investments in data servers, new digital businesses, and R&D in the country for the master plan of Digital Park Thailand.

DEPA President Mr Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said, “Several global vendors have expressed interest in working with DEPA for technology test lab development. Three companies are expected to sign a joint investment agreement with DEPA for establishment of the labs by next week.”

He added that the three firms who are interested are Huawei Technologies, Cisco and SK Telecom.

A 3.9 billion Baht, five-year budget for the IoT Institute was recently allocated by the government to DEPA through the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE).

IoT is considered a cross-cutting technology for all industrial sectors including public services because it can enhance productivity at the same time reducing the cost of business operations.

Awareness of IoT has been growing as more Thai companies explore the technology, but adoption is still at the beginning stage. Adoption of IoT is anticipated in the future as companies and industries realise innovative tech development and 5G wireless broadband infrastructure will facilitate its usage.

The IoT Institute project will be divided into two phases. The first phase consists of office and residential buildings located on 4,500 sq. metres developed with a Baht 104 million budget. It will also have an innovation space 40,000 sq. metres in size, with a budget of Baht 1.38 billion.

The second phase, administered through a long-term contract investment by way of public-private partnership agreement, will be reserved for companies interested in investing on closed labs to develop innovative tech.

Mr Nuttapon explained, “The highlight of this institute is the innovation space because it will directly promote the IoT ecosystem of the country," said Mr Nuttapon.

He furthered that the space will create opportunities for vendors in artificial intelligence, IoT, or 5G technologies.

DEPA also plans to set testing standards for IoT solutions and platforms to guarantee similar quality for industries and individuals using the technology. IoT solutions and products must pass a testing process before being allowed to sell in the market.

Mr Nuttapon added, “DEPA has to prepare for the influx of imported IoT products to ensure it can control them so that consumers will benefit.”

The Digital Park project is a flagship project of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which is divided into three zones: an innovation space, a university 4.0 and digital academy, and a living space.

It is being developed under a five-year road map from 2018 until 2022. The project covers 709 rai (about 312.3 acres) on CAT Telecom's property in Sri Racha, Chon Buri province.

The Digital Park project has two phases. The first consists of the construction of the IoT Institute as well as the selection of partners under a public-private partnership, as mentioned earlier.

For phase two, CAT Telecom has hired a consulting company to help select potential partners for co-construction of project infrastructure.

Digital road shows are scheduled to be done in Japan, Taiwan, US, China this year. President of CAT Telecom Col Sanpachai Huvanandana said, “CAT expects the Digital Park project to find partners by September. The partners will include related infrastructure and utility developers.”

DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said that the Digital Park project will act as a national digital innovation and research park, which will help Thailand stand at the forefront of digital innovation thereby connecting local players to global firms.

Since the park will be located in the EEC, it has a high investment potential, with full connectivity to transport and logistics.

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